DETROIT, Michigan (AFP) — A late-game brawl Tuesday in the Los Angeles Sparks' 84-81 Women's National Basketball Association win over the Detroit Shock saw three players an assistant coach ejected.
The incident began after a made free throw by Los Angeles, when Sparks rookie sensation Candace Parker got tangled with Shock's Plenette Pierson and both fell to the floor.
Pierson then charged Parker, who threw the Detroit center to the court.
Shock assistant coach Rick Mahorn came off the bench, apparently trying to restore order. But he incited more trouble when he inadvertently knocked Los Angeles forward Lisa Leslie to the floor.
Leslie's teammate, DeLisha Milton-Jones, then punched a stunned Mahorn in the shoulder.
"This is a women's game. ... I would never push a woman," Mahorn said after the game. "Our job as coaches is to protect all the players. I have nothing but the utmost respect for (Leslie)."
Parker, who was the top overall selection in the April draft, Pierson, Mahorn and Milton-Jones were all ejected.
"I'm a mom. I don't want to represent myself like this in front of my daughter," Leslie said. "It was really a sad thing that happened."
Shock forward Cheryl Ford, who was trying to prevent Pierson from rejoining the fray, appeared to hurt her knee but was able to leave the court under her own power.
It was a rare in-game fight in the WNBA but not the first on-court tussle in Detroit, which also was the site of perhaps the worst brawl in National Basketball Association history, when then-Indiana Pacers forward Ron Artest went into the stands to trade fisticuffs with fans in a game against the Detroit Pistons in November 2004.
Much like that brawl, Leslie expects Tuesday's fracas to draw plenty of unwanted scrutiny.
"For it to be a televised game, it makes some highlights," she said, "And this is not the way we want to get attention."
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